It began safely enough.
It ended with standout Aalona Monteilh done for the year with an ACL injury to his left knee. The Roosevelt Rough Riders knew what they had with the talented safety, a rangy, smart, aggressive defender in a key position. But just before Kalaheo attempted a field goal last Friday night against Roosevelt, Monteilh switched spots.
Normally in the defensive backfield watching for a potential fake field goal, he went to the line of scrimmage to attempt a block.
“It happened so fast. I ran into someone, the kicker slipped and someone landed on me,” said Monteilh, walking on crutches a week later.
“He told me, they’re kicking it from far away, so he told me to go back, but he went up short. Normally he stays back,” linebacker Shepherd Kekahuna said.
“I couldn’t feel my leg when it happened,” said Monteilh, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound senior. “On Saturday, I found out I tore my ACL, my meniscus and my MCL.”
Surgery will be in two weeks. Monteilh talked with former teammate Sharif Tarin, a former Roosevelt defensive back now on the roster at Puget Sound.
“I talked to Sharif. He said it’s hard, takes about two years to get back to his potential,” Monteilh said. “I’m scared. It’s hard. I just have to trust the process.”
Roosevelt won 33-0 and improved to 6-1 in OIA Division II play (7-1 overall), but lost Monteilh and starting cornerback Josh Maikui (ankle) for the remainder of the season.
“We lost them and everybody started doubting the season, but I try to tell them we still have hope,” Kekahuna said.
“For DBs, there’s actually a lot of skills, around 10, and they’re really competitive,” Monteilh said. “Lots of seniors and juniors.”
A playoff berth is locked up, but Roosevelt needs a win at Nanakuli on Saturday to have a shot at finishing the regular season in first place.
“I think we have the physical ability, but it’s about mental reps. If we get those, we can win states,” said Kekahuna, who was a safety before moving to linebacker this season.
If that happens, running back Myka Kukahiwa could get more reps at LB, according to Kekahuna.
“He’s feisty,” Kekahuna noted.
Anything is possible with the Rough Riders’ depth.